Back to the Coast

From the Villa Romana, we take a route across the countryside on little roads to drop down to Agrigento where we are hoping to find the lovely family we met last year. We can’t remember their names or where they live but only the fact that they have a wolf as a pet. We are planning to park up on the same beach as last year and just wait a couple of days to see if any of the family come down to take their wolf for a walk. We stop off at a Lidl on the way to stock up with Rice milk, and there in the car park, we bump into a friend of the family who recognises us from last year! So we get the low-down on names as well as a phone number. How easy was that?!?

By ringing the daughter Irene, we get hold of Guiseppe and Gina, the parents, and arrange to meet for tea the next day.

Mudra, the wolf, has grown slightly and become more thick-set than she was last year. Guiseppe and Gina show us the changes they have made at their house, including a newly installed infinity swimming pool in their back garden and a terrace on the roof of their bungalow from which one can see the land sweeping down to the sea.

Maybe it’s that we came at short notice and they don’t have much time to spend with us in their very busy daily schedule. Maybe it is that in Guiseppe’s presence, Gina doesn’t feel free to say what she thinks, but somehow the atmosphere is a bit tense and lacking the magic we had with each other last year…but it was still nice to see them again.

In the afternoon, we drive up to visit the Cultural Park in Favara, another typical Sicilian town, tightly packed houses perched on top of a steep hill. Apparently Favara was quite desolate about a decade ago, with young people draining to the bigger cities for want of work. It says on their web site: Farm Cultural Park was born from the intuition of Florinda and Andrea, a young professional couple who decided not to move abroad, but to remain in Sicily; not to complain about what is not happening, but to become protagonists of a small but significant change – to return to their pups Carla and Viola, and to their community, a little bit of a better world than they received.

Seven interlinking courtyards in the historic centre of the town house a multitude of projects, the most inspiring for us is the architectural school for children age 6 onwards. Famous international architects come to teach at this school. What better tool for transformation of a crumbling city than to give its young residents the know-how and creative energy to transform what they have, into a sustainable future.

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It will be interesting to see Favara in 10, 15 years’ time. It is still very dilapidated now, but it has a buzz about it, with lots of interesting nooks and crannies, bohemian cafes and many, many beautiful old buildings. It is exciting to imagine how this city will lift out of its slumber through regeneration from within.

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We roll down the hill to San Leone beach for the night, inspired by the energy we felt in Favara.


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